Alex – Pierre Lemaitre (Trans. Frank Wynne)

UnknownThis is another review for keepcalmandreadabook from my lovely colleague, fellow book lover Jane.

“In kidnapping cases, the first few hours are crucial. After that, the chances of being found alive go from slim to nearly none…”

A beautiful girl is kidnapped and a detective, haunted by his own wife’s kidnapping, must save her…

At first glance, Alex would appear to be like one of many formulaic crime thrillers. But it’s not. Instead the early chapters, focusing on a police detective caught in a race against time to rescue the kidnapped girl, is merely the hook of a far darker story.

It pits a diminutive and damaged Paris detective, Camille Verhoeven, against an unexpected adversary. It avoids the introspection sometimes prevalent in European crime writing, and while Verhoeven has enough baggage as a main character to make him interesting, it does not hinder the plot. Alex, the kidnapped woman at the start of the book, is the other central character in this intense story of betrayal and hate.

Touted as the next big thing in translated crime fiction, Alex is a dark thriller, with a big twist. It’s the first book by prolific French crime writer Pierre Lemaitre to be translated into English, and one suspects, not the last..!

It’s almost impossible to review the book without spoilers – so instead I urge you to go and read it for yourself.

Many thanks to Jane for the review, and Quercus for the review copy.

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